Q&A with Ken Carson, Chief People Officer at Cengage, on our new parental leave policy.
Q: Cengage recently announced an update to its parental leave policy. Can you give a high-level overview?
A: The arrival of a child–whether by birth, adoption or surrogacy–represents the start of a huge undertaking for parents. Our parental leave policy will now provide 12 weeks of fully-paid leave for all parents–women and men–provided they are full-time employees with at least 1 year of service with us.
This is a meaningful increase from the prior policy of 8 weeks of paid leave for the primary caregiver and 1 week for the other parent. These changes put us at the head of the class on this important benefit, and based on the comments I have received, our employees recognize and appreciate that this is reflective of our evolving culture.
Q: How does the improved policy reflect the evolution of Cengage as a company, as well as our core mission and values?
A: We need to invest in our people because we are asking a lot from them in our evolution to becoming a true digital learning company. We are focused on providing benefits that our employees will find meaningful and aligned to our culture. What could be more meaningful than giving parents the opportunity to fulfill and enjoy their parental role without economic concern?
Q: What motivated Cengage to transform its parental leave policy, and is this a differentiator in the industry?
A: We are constantly looking at the marketplace, listening to our employees and evaluating opportunities to improve our offerings to employees. While we cannot implement everything, we were especially passionate on the parental leave issue.
Q: In addition to the benefits employees will experience, how will this positively impact the business overall?
A: We know that business results are achieved through people. By increasing our investment in people in this very clear way, we increase engagement and are able to attract and retain people who want to be a part of Cengage and what we have to offer.
Q: Are there plans for other changes with respect to benefits?
A: We are always looking to improve our benefit offerings. Over the past couple of years, we have introduced a number of important benefit changes, such as a Roth IRA, a funded HSA account, a portfolio investment advisory service for employees (PAS-W), and our first-ever wellness website. And, stay tuned for more information on our new back-up child care and eldercare program that we will be launching later this summer!